An Unexpected Discovery in the Depths of Northumberland

Drawings, Paintings & other Art

My wife and I have just spent a few days with four friends from the Lake District in Northumberland. While there one of our friends found a book on bastle houses, which are centuries-old fortified houses in the border country, built to give farmers protection from marauding robbers, known then as Reivers. In the book, there was a reference to a small company that made soft pastels located in the middle of deepest Northumbria near Kielder, in the Tarset area. I had never heard of the company and had no idea why it should be mentioned in a book about houses built several centuries ago, but it turned out that the book was written by the husband of one of the ladies who worked there. On their website, no less than Sean Scully says they are the very best pastels you can buy – in the world. He should know…

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